Detroit Tigers 40-man roster preview: Tarik Skubal, the fiery left hander

Tarik Skubal pitches against the Houston Astros. Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Tarik Skubal pitches against the Houston Astros. Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

Tarik Skubal is primed for a breakout season this year after showing flashes of brilliance in his 2021 rookie campaign with the Detroit Tigers

A member of the three headed monster of pitching prospects that has been championed by many both in and around the Detroit Tigers organization, Tarik Skubal took a giant step forward in development last season in his rookie year with the Tigers. A former 9th round draft pick out of Seattle University is now a main figure in the Tigers rotation, and the chances of success for the team as a whole this year will be majorly influenced by Skubal’s performance this season.

Skubal’s Contract:

As he is only entering his second full season in the Majors, Skubal remains under full team control for another two seasons before he is eligible for arbitration and will not become an unrestricted free agent until 2027, according to Sportac. The 25 year old left-hander is set to make approximately $700,000 this season, and the affordability of Skubal’s contract will allow for financial flexibility for the Detroit Tigers for the foreseeable future. However, if Skubal continues on his upward trajectory and takes another step forward this year, he will most certainly be due for a major payday when the time comes.

Tarik Skubal’s Game:

Skubal relies on four pitches as part of his pitching makeup, including his fastball, slider, changeup, and curveball. His fastball is his primary pitch, as he throws it over 40% of the time, however his offspeed pitches are nothing to overlook as he has generated whiff rates of approximately 30 percent and higher with his changeup, slider and curveball.

The key for Skubal’s success this season will be location. Last year he gave up a large number of homeruns due to the fact that he would leave too many pitches over the heart of the plate. For him to take the next step it will be imperative for him to focus on throwing pitches in optimal locations no matter what the count is, and if he is able to do that, I believe he will have a breakout season.

Detroit Tigers
Detroit Tigers /

My Take on Tarik Skubal:

I am extremely high on Tarik Skubal as a player, and believe that he has the potential to be a Cy Young caliber pitcher in his career. As I mentioned before, the key to Skubal’s success is throwing pitches in locations that will set him up for success.

We saw flashes of how good he can be last season and that was because he kept hitters off balance with his fastball and off speed pitches, along with not leaving anything over the heart of the plate. In addition, it has been reported that during spring training, he has emphasized using his curveball more often. When he threw it last year, I felt his curveball was extremely effective, and if he is able to mix that in with his high velocity fastball along with his other off speed pitches, I think hitters will have a very tough time against him this season.